Schwab plea postponed after prosecutor falls ill in court

Schwab plea postponed after prosecutor falls ill in court

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Steven A. Schwab appeared in Edgartown District Court Friday prepared to accept a plea agreement on charges of indecent exposure on a child, assault on a child, and two charges of lewdness. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Steven A. Schwab, 65, formerly of Chilmark, appeared in Edgartown District Court Friday before presiding Justice H. Gregory Williams prepared to accept a plea agreement to charges of indecent assault on a child under 14, assault on a child, and two charges of lewdness.

But as Cape and Islands assistant district Attorney Laura Marshard recited the facts of the case, she suddenly became ill and had to leave the courtroom. She was unable to return.

Chilmark police Chief Brian Cioffi, who investigated the case, was prepared to step in and act as prosecutor and recite the facts of the case. He conferred with Judge Williams, but after speaking with Chief Cioffi and Timothy Kelliher, Mr. Schwab’s attorney, Judge Williams scheduled a hearing on Friday, January 25, for probable disposition of the case.

Mr. Schwab was a well-known Island insurance salesman with a record of involvement in charitable and civic affairs when Chilmark police arrested him on April 18, 2012 following an investigation by several law enforcement agencies.

On September 28, 2012, Mr. Schwab, represented by lawyer Charles Morano, appeared before Judge Williams prepared to plead guilty to charges of indecent assault on a child under 14, assault, and lewdness.

But, when Judge Williams rejected a plea offer that included no jail time, saying instead that he would find a one-year jail sentence acceptable, Mr. Schwab withdrew his offer to plead guilty.

Judge Williams scheduled a trial to begin on December 10. That was delayed when Mr. Schwab retained a new attorney, Mr. Kelliher. The trial was rescheduled to begin on February 8.